Pitti Uomo, Day 2: The Numbers Game-------
The trade-fair tale is often best told by the numbers: This year, Pitti Uomo has 765 exhibitors showing a total of 936 brands over 59,000 square meters. What possible sense can you hope to make of that in the mere hours you have, wandering with increasing aimlessness down avenue after avenue of immaculately made men’s clothing and accessories? Certain trends impress with their omnipresence. Winter 2010 is clearly all about duffel coats, heavy hiking-influenced footwear, and a strengthened Japanese presence. I was particularly taken with the label Anachronorm, which fetishizes American workwear like boiler suits with all the lovingly accurate detail we expect from the Japanese. (Here’s one from Fall 2009, left.)
Otherwise, it was down to eye-catching oddities, like the taxicab yellow luggage Erdem has designed for Globe-Trotter, below (it’s lined in a baroque black and white floral print). Or the video Ruth Hogben—who has made films for McQueen and Pugh—produced for Siviglia. Projected inside a huge mirrored globe, it took on a trippy, kaleidoscopic quality, giving ordinary items of clothing an eerie, spectral quality. (You can see the video at www.sivigliastyle.com.)
Creative collaborations were a keynote. Ron Arad dressed the sculpture in Pitti’s courtyard in Notify jeans, loaning even cold, hard stone the kind of curves that have turned Notify into a connoisseur’s cult. He also produced a film to go with the installation. “An homage to the machine,” Notify owner Maurice Ohayon called it, though he was quick to point out that everything will be made by hand in his label’s new atelier in Milan. Arad is designing that, too, and if Ohayon’s iPhone images aren’t lying, it will be a gobsmacking piece of starchitecture.
Here’s some smart teamwork: One of Jack Purcell’s 75th anniversary styles is a high-top called Woolrich. It’s made from the navy wool that company uses in its peacoats. That other smart team, Viktor & Rolf, was also in Florence for Pitti, dressing the windows at Luisa via Roma with signature surrealist flourishes like bobbing bowler hats (below). Parked outside the boutique was a bright red SLS AMG, a new Mercedes model that looked equally surreal in its antique Tuscan context. (Nick Knight and Gareth Pugh collaborated on the SLS ad campaign—that speaks volumes.) The car was there to promote a sneaker specially commissioned from handmade shoe specialists Santoni. Giuseppe Santoni ended the day with a dinner for 20 in the wine cellar of the Osteria Tornabuoni. This time, the tale told by the numbers was one too many glasses of good red wine.